ROAD FOOD

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

My husband, big tough guy that he is, hates to fly.  He has not been on a plane in 12 years, which means that he has never experienced the joys of the TSA. When we used to fly he needed fortification so although he’s really not much of a drinker, I would fill a water bottle with vodka.  He’d order some orange juice, pour a little “water” in it, and he was set to go.  Of course, sometimes he would drink a little too much “water” and start referring to the flight attendants as “buckaroos”.

Needless to say, the old vodka/water bottle trick is no longer possible so we drive everywhere.  We actually enjoy it – he drives, I knit, read or, more commonly, eat.  Last week we made a quick trip up to Sonoma to visit my mother so I spent a lot of time in a car.  Which is another way of saying that I gained five pounds.

We always start our road trips with a stop at a Starbucks.  In fact, our starting time from any destination is dictated by their opening time.  I used to order up those delicious blueberry scones until I read that they have the caloric content of a milk shake.  Last week I briefly considered how much effort it was going to take to drive to Sonoma.  I ordered a plain bagel.

So by 5:30 a.m. I was set to go.  Normally I don’t eat breakfast until 7, but the bagel beckoned me from its bag.  By 5:45 it was history.  As the trip went on, and by “on” I mean another hour, I’m hungry again.  I look in our “feed bag” to see what I can nibble on.  Oatmeal cookies?  Great.  Oatmeal is definitely a breakfast food.

I knit, read, look out the window and realize I’m starving.  It must be lunch time.  I look at the clock- it’s 9 a.m.  Back into the feed bag.  Crackers. They’re only 30 calories each. I munch on a few of them.  And then a few more. I’m a firm believer in the theory that calories consumed while you’re in a car don’t count.

By 11:30 I was looking for the nearest restaurant.  Okay, “restaurant” might be a stretch.  I’m usually thrilled if we can find an In-N-Out but I’ve been known to settle for McDonalds.  I draw the line at Denny’s – my standards may be low but I do have some. We stop at Bob’s Big Boy and I order a salad because I’m on a diet.

Mid-afternoon brought a whole new set of challenges.  We were close to our stopping point and I was exhausted from all the driving.  But we’re staying in a new place and I had no idea what kind of food might be available.  Better load up while I’m still in the car.  A couple of handfuls of almonds, a couple of chocolate squares and some Pop Chips fortify me for whatever lies ahead.  It was more food.

It goes on like this for days.  When I’m at home I’m a three-meal-a-day person.  In the car, I eat like I’m on death row.  Some people are inspired by the lure of the road.  Me – I take any road trip as a personal challenge to see how much food a human can consume.

My vista for the upcoming week?  The view from the treadmill.

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